Friday, September 30, 2016


A biased and misinformed "moderator"

Debate moderator Lester Holt’s claim that the New York Police Department’s “stop and frisk” practice was declared unconstitutional because it was racist, an assertion seconded by Hillary Clinton, was more evidence that Holt was heavily biased toward Clinton. The actual facts surrounding the case against “stop and frisk” are these: In the 1968 Terry v. Ohio case, an 8-1 Supreme Court ruling upheld as constitutional law enforcement’s practice of stopping and frisking individuals who they deemed reasonably suspicious. This law has never been overturned and is practiced by police departments across the country to this today.

Holt’s reference to it being declared unconstitutional is based upon a ruling by federal Judge Shira Scheindlin, who ruled in 2013 that the NYPD’s application of the law was racially biased and therefore unconstitutional. Judge Scheindlin was later removed from the case under allegations of her own bias against police — just as Donald Trump correctly noted Monday night. It has been argued that Scheindlin’s ruling would have been overturned based on the circumstances surrounding the case, had then-newly elected mayor Bill de Blasio chosen to pursue it. The judge’s ruling was not concerned with the constitutionality of “stop and frisk” in general, but the specific manner in which it was applied in New York City. Holt completely misrepresented the case in order to challenge Trump’s statements on law and order. Clearly, Trump was correct and Holt was wrong.

The nuances of political gamesmanship are something the Leftmedia has become very adept at applying. It’s always a good practice to apply a healthy level of skepticism to any political claim, especially if the claims are made by the mainstream media.

SOURCE

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Narrative-Building Has Become a Political Obsession

Jonah Goldberg
 
The most exhausting thing about our politics these days — other than the never-ending presidential election itself — is the obsession with “shaping the narrative.” By that I mean the effort to connect the dots between a selective number of facts and statistics to support one storyline about the state of the union.

Narrative-building is essential for almost every complicated argument because it’s the only way to get our pattern-seeking brains to discount contradictory facts and data. Trial lawyers understand this implicitly. Get the jury to buy the story, and they’ll do the heavy lifting of arranging the facts in just the right way.

President Obama understands this too. Just consider the way he talks about terrorism — often reassuring Americans that they’re more likely to die in a bathtub accident than in a terror attack.

And he’s right. On the other hand, bathtubs aren’t trying to get nuclear weapons. Nor are bathtubs destabilizing the Middle East (often killing massive numbers of non-Americans) or otherwise plotting to conquer the world.

Obama’s goal is obvious. He wants the story of terrorism to lose its potency and recede from our politics. Secretary of State John Kerry recently suggested as much when he said, “Perhaps the media would do us all a service if they didn’t cover [terrorism] quite as much. People wouldn’t know what’s going on.”

This mindset helps explain the now-familiar pattern whereby the Obama administration responds to a terror attack by slow-walking acknowledgement of reality. First there is the reluctance to call it terrorism, then the reluctance to call it Islamic terrorism, and finally the reluctance to admit that it was plotted or inspired in any way by the Islamic State or al-Qaida. Lone wolves are the new fallback, because they are self-radicalized and hence not part of some larger challenge — or story.

One problem with this effort to so aggressively edit the terrorism narrative in real time is that it sows skepticism about the truthfulness of our political leaders.

Another is that it inadvertently fuels a story that the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, rightly wants to downplay: that Islam itself is the problem. If all of these “homegrown” “lone wolves” are “self-radicalizing” — without aid or assistance from foreign powers — you can see why some people might conclude that Islam itself is the source of extremism.

Republicans are hardly immune to the temptation to drive a storyline ahead of the facts. Donald Trump says our country is a “divided crime scene” and that African-American “communities are absolutely in the worst shape that they’ve ever been in before. Ever. Ever. Ever.”

This storyline, never mind this paragraph, desperately needs an editor.

But so does the tale of an “epidemic” of police “hunting” unarmed black men — in the words of some activists.

There’s no disputing that the unwarranted use of deadly force by police is a legitimate concern. But the narrative — increasingly pushed by Hillary Clinton in an effort to rev up African-American voters — that it is open season on black men not only does a disservice to the police, it also makes it harder to put the problem in perspective.

What might perspective entail? It happens to be true that young black men are more likely to die in domestic accidents than at the hands of the police. Of course, if a politician said that, liberals would attack him or her for minimizing the issue — just like conservatives attack Obama for his bathtub comments.

The anger wouldn’t be over the veracity of the claim, but the attempt to dilute the narrative.

I’m not naive. Crafting stories to serve political purposes is as old as politics itself. But the problem seems to be getting worse.

Perhaps it’s because our country is so polarized and our media environment so balkanized and instantaneous. Politicians and journalists alike feel compelled to make facts serve some larger tale in every utterance.

The reality is that life is complicated and every well-crafted narrative leaves out important facts.

SOURCE

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Clinton Promises Malaise in the Name of 'Fairness'

A look at Hillary's plan for taxes and the economy

Hillary Clinton used a fair portion of her awful debate appearance Monday to sell America on her economic vision. Though she framed taxes as the typical leftist issue of “fairness,” whether or not she openly admitted she is going to raise taxes on the middle class, her plans for this country’s fiscal future mean dark days for everyone.

It’s not as if we’re in a robust economy right now. The Census Bureau would have us believe that we’re in good shape. After all, median household income rose 5.2% in 2015, the first jump since 2007, and the biggest since 1968. That should be good news, but it’s really just manufactured good news.

The Census Bureau changed its reporting methods to measure income, the result being that reported income actually appears more than actual income. And in time for election season, too. What a coincidence. This explains the supposedly mysterious question as to why Americans are making more money but don’t feel like they are getting ahead. Answer: they are not making more money.

This gimmick, along with the economic fantasies being spun by Barack Obama to shore up his legacy and put Clinton in the White House, have the electorate confused. That’s just how the Left wants it.

That is also why Monday night’s debate moderator Lester Holt was able to get away with his opening statement: “There are two economic realities in America today. There’s been a record six straight years of job growth, and new census numbers show incomes have increased at a record rate after years of stagnation. However, income inequality remains significant, and nearly half of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.”

The very premise was part White House press release, part Bernie Sanders stump speech.

Clinton also trotted out the usual lie that George W. Bush’s tax cuts “for the wealthy” caused the recession. That’s baloney. First of all, Bush’s tax cuts were for everyone, not just the wealthy. Second, and more important, it was Hillary’s husband who set the stage for the financial crisis with his home lending policies.

As for Clinton’s tax plan, there should be no confusion about its true nature. She spoke wistfully Monday night about the great 1990s when “Bill” was president. And there were some good economic years during that period. The trouble is she isn’t going to come remotely close to achieving those budget surpluses and strong business and investment sector with the policies she wants to implement or expand.

On the contrary, Clinton doesn’t even consider capping the growth of federal budget deficits, and calls for $1.8 trillion in new taxes to fund new projects. She isn’t looking to rein in the size of the government as Republican policies of 1990s did. She wants to push the federal government into more areas of our daily lives while refusing entitlement reform and spending cuts, and our reward will be to pay through the nose for it.

Hillary is nothing if not thorough in her tax plan. No one will be spared. Sure, the $350 billion income tax hike and the $275 business tax hike are meant to target the top earners, as is a $400 billion “fairness” tax, which is about as arbitrary a tax as one might conceive.

Clinton calls to raise the capital gains tax (which millions of middle class Americans pay), taxes on stock trading, and implement an “exit tax” on income earned overseas. And she wants a 65% death tax for the largest estates, with jacked up rates for estates that fall into lower income categories. This would crush small businesses that even she admitted Monday create most of the jobs in America.

The problem with all these taxes is that they will stifle growth. Donald Trump spoke frequently Monday night about how American business is in apocalyptic shape. Clinton just shook her head and smiled. But that’s all she could do. She’s never worked in the private sector, so she cannot truly relate to what a majority of American taxpayers are experiencing. After all, she just funnels her income into the Clinton Foundation.

It makes perfect sense that Clinton is the Democrat nominee for president. She is the poster child for statist, centralized policies in which every citizen really works to fund the government so that it can become larger and more intrusive. And her central message Monday was that the government under her direction will spend your money better than you will. She says her tax policies will help our economy. What she really wants to do is continue the transformation of America that Obama started.

SOURCE

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Lessons From Norway's Refugee Policy

With much of western Europe mired in a mostly self-inflicted migration crisis due to their liberal open-door policies, one country stands out for its decidedly non-politically correct policies on immigration. In 2015 Norway adopted an immigration policy it termed “strict but fair.” Since Norway is not a member of the European Union, it was not obligated to accept any refugees, however it elected to accept 8,000 migrants, but on its own conditions. Norway’s primary concern was to prevent uncontrolled migration. Similar to Donald Trump’s reasoning in his call to limit immigration, Norway’s government understood that its first obligation was to Norwegians, as any immigrants that were to be accepted would need to be carefully vetted along clear guidelines that would both prevent economic strain and preserve distinct Norwegian cultural and character.

Sweden, the country to the immediate east of Norway, took a much more liberal open-door approach, welcoming in well over 280,000 migrants since 2013. Sweden’s radical policy has proved to be untenable and increasingly unpopular with Swedes, which has given popular rise to the Sweden Democrats, a controversial immigration-restrictionist party that more than doubled its presence in the nation’s 2014 election, becoming the country’s third largest party. As public dissatisfaction continued to grow and the cost for migrant services swelled to 7% of the 2016 budget, the Swedish government finally enacted laws to impose border controls. With the lack of immigrant vetting and assimilation, the social impact upon Sweden is yet to be fully realized.

Norway’s Norwegian-first policy in regards to immigration is the fairest both to its own citizens, but also to those refugees who are genuinely seeking refuge and help assimilating into a new and better life.

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Thursday, September 29, 2016


US election debate: a draw with the edge to everyman Trump

The account below is from a conservative Australian journalist. I thought an outside view might be more balanced

It was a tale of two debates. And for each candidate, it was both the best and worst of debates.

For the first half-hour, Donald Trump wiped the floor with Hillary Clinton. It looked as though the New York property mogul would win not only the debate but the presidency itself there in Hofstra, New York, in one debate.

He spoke in the powerful, plain language of everyman.

Clinton began with characteristic politician waffle about building the right kind of economy.

Trump’s appeal was visceral and direct: “We have to stop our jobs being stolen from us and our companies leaving us.”

There is, of course, a lie at the heart of Trump’s appeal. Free trade has been good for the American economy. A dynamic economy destroys old jobs and creates new ones all the time. In so far as old jobs have been lost, this is much more because of technological change than trade.

Nonetheless, Trump’s message on trade is powerful and straightforward: America is being taken for a chump. In a very bad sign for Australia, Trump demonised the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal and witheringly and accurately accused Clinton of flip-flopping on the issue.

Trump truthfully said Clinton had described the TPP as “the gold standard of trade agreements”, a remark she made, as it happens, on a visit to Australia when she was secretary of state.

Clinton dishonestly claimed she never said the TPP was “the gold standard” but merely hoped it would be. “I was against it when it was finally presented,” was her lame response.

Trump promised to cut taxes to stimulate investment, growth and jobs. Clinton promised to raise taxes on the rich and on corporations, because her priority was to produce a “fair economy”.

She will raise the minimum wage, provide paid parental leave and ensure women get equal pay to men. Trump promised to cut regulation. Polls show that US voters think Trump is better on the economy than Clinton.

As usual, there was something outrageous, with him accusing the Federal Reserve of acting politically in keeping interest rates low. This too echoes a concern of older Americans trying to live off the ­interest on their savings.

This whole section of the debate was won decisively by Trump.

But then, in a debate judo move of great artistry and astonishing effectiveness, Clinton turned the whole debate around. Though her brand is stolid, wooden reliability and stoic ­attachment to uttering the right cliche of the right zeitgeist, she began to provoke Trump with personal attacks. She certainly had a lot of mat­erial to work with and Trump ­allowed himself to be provoked.

First, she tackled him on the birther controversy, the insane argument Trump made for years that Barack Obama was not born in the US and therefore shouldn’t be president. Only in the past two weeks has Trump accepted Obama was born in the US.

Trump had no answer to this except to say Clinton’s campaign in 2008 began the birther controversy, a ditzy claim of no possible use to Trump. But he went on and on about the alleged friends of Clinton who had spread the birther myth and ended up accusing Clinton of having been too mean to Obama. Of all the things he might attack Clinton for, being mean to Obama was surely the most irrelevant and ridiculous.

Then Clinton accused him of having something to hide by not releasing his tax returns. For a moment, it looked like Trump might pivot back to the attack when he said: “I’ll release my tax returns if she’ll release the 33,000 emails”, which Clinton mysteriously deleted from the private server she wrongly used as secretary of state.

The email scandal is a huge vulnerability for Clinton. But Trump forgot all his attack lines and got bogged down in a ridiculous defence of his own company’s practices and his own tax behaviour.

The same pattern repeated itself later when Clinton, with ample justification, accused Trump of a history of insulting, demeaning sexist behaviour and remarks.

Trump showed an uncharacteristic flat footedness. He couldn’t pivot to the attack but got caught up in a ludicrous defence of an argument he had with Z grade entertainer Rosie O’Donnell.

These were Trump’s weakest moments, and there were plenty of them.

In what was a pretty weird ­debate, there was not much real policy substance. The most reassuring remark for Australia came from Clinton, who said: “We have mutual defence treaties and we will honour them.”

Trump dialled back his criticism of US allies. He wants to ­support them all, but the US spends an enormous amount of money defending allies and they must contribute more, or maybe they will have to defend themselves. Though he has often expressed this crudely, the idea allies are free riding on the US is undeniable. But this election won’t be won and lost on foreign policy, where Clinton has a strong lead.

Overall, I scored the debate about a draw, though CNN polls had voters saying Clinton had won. But I still think a draw is the right call, and it probably favours the challenger.

Trump did nothing to rule himself out of the presidency and he had no trouble on policy questions. Unexpectedly, it was the personal that tripped him up.

The underlying structure of the contest remains unchanged. Trump is the outsider promising change. Clinton is the ultimate insider, the registered adult offering a responsible alternative to Trump.

Beyond that, she lacks a narrative or any compelling rationale for her candidacy. Being the registered adult and safe alternative to Trump didn’t work for any of the heavyweight Republicans who ran against him in the primaries. Whether it is enough for Clinton is the $64 million question not at all resolved by this gruesomely compelling debate.

SOURCE

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A Hard Rain Is Going to Fall

V.D. Hanson

This summer, President Obama was often golfing. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were promising to let the world be. The end of summer seemed sleepy, the world relatively calm.

The summer of 1914 in Europe also seemed quiet. But on July 28, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip with help from his accomplices, fellow Serbian separatists. That isolated act sparked World War I.

In the summer of 1939, most observers thought Adolf Hitler was finally through with his serial bullying. Appeasement supposedly had satiated his once enormous territorial appetites. But on Sept. 1, Nazi Germany unexpectedly invaded Poland and touched off World War II, which consumed some 60 million lives.

Wars often seem to come out of nowhere, as unlikely events ignite long-simmering disputes into global conflagrations.

The instigators often are weaker attackers who foolishly assume that more powerful nations wish peace at any cost, and so will not react to opportunistic aggression.

Unfortunately, our late-summer calm of 2016 has masked a lot of festering tensions that are now coming to a head — largely due to disengagement by a supposedly tired United States.

In contrast, war, unlike individual states, does not sleep.

Russia has been massing troops on its border with Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin apparently believes that Europe is in utter disarray and assumes that President Obama remains most interested in apologizing to foreigners for the past evils of the United States. Putin is wagering that no tired Western power could or would stop his reabsorption of Ukraine — or the Baltic states next. Who in hip Amsterdam cares what happens to faraway Kiev?

Iran swapped American hostages for cash. An Iranian missile narrowly missed a U.S. aircraft carrier not long ago. Iranians hijacked an American boat and buzzed our warships in the Persian Gulf. There are frequent promises from Tehran to destroy either Israel, America or both. So much for the peace dividend of the “Iran deal.”

North Korea is more than just delusional. Recent nuclear tests and missile launches toward Japan suggest that North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un actually believes that he could win a war — and thereby gain even larger concessions from the West and from his Asian neighbors.

Radical Islamists likewise seem emboldened to try more attacks on the premise that Western nations will hardly respond with overwhelming power. The past weekend brought pipe bombings in Manhattan and New Jersey as well as a mass stabbing in a Minnesota mall — and American frustration.

Europe and the United States have been bewildered by huge numbers of largely young male migrants from the war-torn Middle East. Political correctness has paralyzed Western leaders from even articulating the threat, much less replying to it.

Instead, the American government appears more concerned with shutting down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, ensuring that no administration official utters the words “Islamic terror,” and issuing warnings to Americans not to lash out due to their supposedly innate prejudices.

Aggressors are also encouraged by vast cutbacks in the U.S. defense budget. The lame-duck Obama presidency, lead-from-behind policies and a culturally and racially divided America reflect voter weariness with overseas commitments.

It would be a mistake to assume that war is impossible because it logically benefits no one, or is outdated in our sophisticated 21st century, or would be insane in a world of nuclear weapons.

Human nature is unchanging and remains irrational. Evil is eternal. Unfortunately, appeasement is often seen by thugs not as magnanimity to be reciprocated but as timidity to be exploited.

Someone soon will have to tell the North Koreans that a stable world order cannot endure its frequent missile launches and nuclear detonations.

Someone could remind Putin that the former Soviet republics have a right to self-determination.

Someone might inform the Chinese that no one can plop down artificial islands and military bases to control commercial sea lanes.

Someone might make it clear to radical Islamic terrorists that there is a limit to Western patience with their chronic bombing, murdering and destruction.

The problem is that there is no other “someone” (especially not the United Nations or the European Union) with the requisite power and authority except the United States. But for a long time America has done more than its fair share of international policing — and its people are tired of costly dragon-slaying abroad.

The result is that at this late date, the tough medicine of restoring long-term deterrence is as almost as dangerous as the disease of continual short-term appeasement.

Obama apparently assumes he can leave office as a peacemaker before his appeased chickens come home to roost in violent fashion. He has assured us that the world has never been calmer and quieter.

Others said the same thing in the last calm summer weeks of 1914 and 1939.

War clouds are gathering. A hard rain is soon going to fall.

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016



Hillary insults white people

American whites have been kicked in the teeth so often by the Left that there has been little reaction to this so far.  Hillary  thinks she can persuade white people not to be racist, thus assuming that they are.  She is blaming a shooting of a black man by a panicky female cop (who happens to be white.  Black cops also shoot and kill troublesome black men) on white people generally.  It's an extraordinary generalization of exactly the sort that the Left are always warning us against. For instance, no matter what individual Muslims do, you can't say anything about Muslims generally. She is an utter racist. Race, race, race.  That's all the Left talk about. It's the Left who are the ultimate racists

On Tuesday's episode of "The Steve Harvey Morning Show,"  Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton stated:

"This horrible shooting again. How many times do we have to see this in our country?...And maybe I can, by speaking directly to white people, say, ‘Look, this is not who we are’…We have got to do everything possible to improve policing, to go right at implicit bias"

She was referring to the police shooting of Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Ok.—a recent killing of a black man by the hands of police that has caused widespread outrage.

Clinton, who recently criticized Donald Trump for jumping to conclusions regarding the NYC bombing, saying, “I think it’s also wiser to wait until you have information before making conclusions, because we are just in the beginning stages of trying to determine what happened,” seems to have chosen a different method when discussing the possibility of police officers making fatal mistakes.

This is not the first time Clinton has deemed white people responsible for the deaths of black men by police. In an interview with CNN back in July, Clinton discussed the Dallas shooting of five police officers saying, “I’m going to be talking to white people, we’re the ones who have to start listening to the legitimate cries coming from our African-American fellow citizens.”

At the 107th NAACP convention this year, she stated, “We white Americans need to do a better job of listening when African-Americans talk about the seen and unseen barriers you face every day. We need to recognize our privilege and practice humility, rather than assume our experiences are everyone’s experiences.”

SOURCE

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Media decide that Trump is a racist

At least eight times Monday on CNN, various anchors and correspondents made the claim that Donald Trump called for racial profiling. The problem is, he didn’t. Starting at the 4:00 hour all the way through early Tuesday morning, CNN journalists added the term “racial” to Trump’s comments on profiling to combat terrorism, even devoting entire segments to discussing his statement he never actually said.

This isn’t the first time CNN has selectively subtracted or added to what someone said in their reports in order to skew their stories.

Starting on The Lead with Jake Tapper, correspondent Sara Murray stated Trump made an “apparent suggestion” for racial profiling on Fox and Friends Monday morning.

MURRAY: But offering few specifics, beyond his apparent suggestion that the U.S. should begin racial profiling.

But here’s what he actually said:

TRUMP: Our police are amazing, our local police, they know who a lot of these people are. They're afraid to do anything about it because they don't want to be accused of profiling. But Israel has done an unbelievable job. And they will profile. They profile. They see somebody that's suspicious, they will profile. They see somebody that's suspicious, they will profile and they will take that person in. They will check out. Do we have a choice? Look what's going on. Do we really have a choice?

Again on The Situation Room, anchor Wolf Blitzer made the same assumption:

BLITZER: Donald Trump this morning said police are simply afraid to go after people in cases like this because they're afraid of being accused of racial profiling. Is that a serious concern among law enforcement?

In a report, Sara Murray also repeated that Trump “suggested” racial profiling:

MURRAY: The G.O.P. nominee suggesting that the U.S. should instate, racial profiling.

Even after Trump came on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor to repeat a similar statement on profiling, again without using the word “racial,” CNN continued to hammer home their message. Erin Burnett Outfront was the worst example on CNN, where the host devoted nearly the whole hour to discussing Trump’s “racial profiling” comments that he never actually said.

Burnett began the show by stating twice, “Donald Trump defending a call for racial profiling” with a chyron that read, “Trump Says ‘Racial Profiling’ Will Stop Terror.”

Burnett then brought on two guests to discuss Trump’s comments, prefacing several questions with the loaded expression.

SOURCE

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A Distant gleam of freedom

MARTIN HUTCHINSON

Donald Trump’s tax plan, revealed at the Economic Club of New York on September 15, does not add up, as most Presidential candidates’ tax plans don’t. Still, it did contain one provision that is fiscally insignificant but economically enormous: by capping all tax deductions at $100,000 for single filers, $200,000 for married couples, without exceptions, it went a long way to eliminate the charitable tax deduction scam. Removing that, and thereby shrinking the nonprofit sector, would be a gigantic blow for economic freedom second only to abolishing the Fed.

By capping tax deductions, even at such a high level, Trump has taken an ax to the most egregious feature of the U.S. tax system, by which billionaires often pay less tax than their secretaries. Warren Buffett has whined about this anomaly, with the implication that the solution is the left’s favorite panacea of higher tax rates. Of course, that would merely allow the lobbyists to insert yet more loopholes into the U.S. tax system, increasing the power of politicians to allocate resources and removing the U.S, economy even further from anything resembling a free market.

There are three major tax allowances that would be capped by Trump’s proposal. Of these, the home mortgage interest deduction is least affected, because of today’s ultra-low mortgage interest rates. $100,000 in mortgage interest would only be incurred on a $3 million mortgage, at today’s interest rate of 3.3%. Of course, there are people with mortgages larger than this, though the limitation of home mortgage interest to the first house makes their number relatively small. Mostly, the cap would affect mortgages in ultra-high cost areas such as Manhattan, San Francisco and Silicon Valley, perhaps knocking the top off the excessively bubbly real estate markets in those areas.

Trump’s cap on tax allowances would also affect the state and local tax deduction. Here an individual with an income of a bare $1 million living in Westchester County, who would not be in the top New York state tax bracket, would run up $100,000 in tax deductions from state tax of about $68,000 plus about $32,000 in local real estate taxes on his $1.2 million home. The limit thus catches a much broader swathe of the upper middle class, especially those in high-tax states like New York, New Jersey or California.

However, the tax deduction most seriously affected by Trump’s cap on allowances would be that for charitable donations. This is the favorite tax-avoidance strategy of the super-rich; by giving vast sums of money to charities, whether genuine or phony like the Clinton Foundation, they end up paying minuscule amounts of tax. Indeed, as the Congressional Budget Office showed in 2013, by far the greatest beneficiaries of the charitable tax deduction are the top 1%, who benefit by about 1.4% of their income, compared to a 0.7% of income benefit to even the next richest group, between the top and the fifth percentile of the income distribution. Capping this tax deduction would remove the largest current loophole from the current U.S. tax system.

Trump’s proposal would cap the sum of the deductions at $200,000 for a married couple; it would therefore severely limit the tax deductibility of charitable donations for wealthy people who had already used up much of their allowance in mortgage and state/local income tax deductions.

As we are beginning to see from accounts of the Clinton Foundation, tax-deductible gifts to “charity” may be used to generate benefits elsewhere, often much larger than the gift itself. This is clearly a scam of the first order; not only is the Federal budget being deprived of much-needed revenue, but costs are often also imposed on government through favors to the charitable donor.

Even when “charities” are not abusive political slush funds like the Clinton Foundation, the charitable tax deduction is highly damaging. For one thing; it redistributes from the poor to the rich. When a hedge fund executive deducts $1,000 for the cost of a charity dinner to boost his tawdry social life and make new contacts, there is $396 less at the federal and maybe $80 at the state level that is no longer available for necessary programs, at least some of which benefit the worse off. Given the expenses, legitimate and illegitimate, incurred by charities, even if their activities benefit the poor, the inefficiency of the charitable tax deduction may well be net damaging to the interests of the poor and especially to the working poor.

However, in reality most charitable giving does not benefit the poor. There have been few studies of this important question, but one by Indiana University in 2005 suggested that only 31% of charitable donations go to the poor, with 69% going to the non-poor. Religion, elite colleges and the arts are especial non-poor beneficiaries.

Combine these two figures together, and you have a remarkable result. On average, of a $1,000 charitable donation by a taxpayer in the top bracket, $476 is returned to him in deductions from his taxes, $690 goes to the non-poor and only $310 goes to the poor. In other words, charitable giving is on balance reducing the funds available for the poor, by $166 per $1,000 in this example. This is a truly disgraceful result, and illustrates the iniquity of the charitable tax deduction, even without considering the charities that are outright scams.

The charitable deduction costs the Federal budget directly about $60 billion per annum, a figure that is almost certainly an underestimate, because as in the case of the Harvard endowment, money given to charity is often invested in tax-free funds that earn returns that also escape the tax net. A more complete figure can be calculated from The NonProfit Times estimate that the tax-exempt sector “contributed” $887 billion to the U.S. economy in 2012, 5.4% of Gross Domestic Product. That is all money allocated by the murky though processes of charities, and thus not available for the truly productive private sector; in itself it represents a major drain on the U.S. economy and the current anemic productivity growth therein.

Tax that $887 billion at an average rate of 40%, including income taxes, sales taxes and excise duties, and you will generate over $350 billion per annum to the fiscal balance, more than half even the current swollen budget deficit. And, as I said, the economy will be more productive, the poor will be better off, and the Clintons will be deprived of their principal source of funding. A win all round, it appears to me.

If Trump is elected, state and local governments of high-tax badly run states like New York, New Jersey and California will raise all kinds of hell to get themselves exempted from his deductions cap, because forcing rich residents to pay the full costs of the states’ fiscal profligacy would drive the last of their long-suffering residents to more civilized locations. There will also be attempts by the realtors’ lobby to remove the cap altogether or exempt home mortgage interest, although in this case only a modest percentage of their income comes from residences with such huge mortgages, so the squawking will be muted.

However, the lobbying from the states and the realtors will be as nothing compared to the massive and revolting PR campaign that will be waged by the charity lobby. Pictures of starving and diseased children will be all over the airwaves. K Street will see new records of activity, as Washington’s swollen armies of lobbyists swing into action, with the charities calling in past favors, so the farm lobbyists, the Pentagon lobbyists, Hollywood’s copyright lobbyists and Silicon Valley’s patent lobbyists lend their efforts to block Trump’s proposed legislation, or at least exempt charities from it. Money will pour into the coffers of every Congressman prepared to sell his soul for just one more betrayal of the people who elected him. The battle will long and vicious, and with allies like the feeble Speaker Paul Ryan and the Republican Congressional corruptocrats it is most unlikely that Trump will win.

But the battle is worth fighting. Of all possible tax reforms to revive the U.S. economy and return prosperity to the American people, that to de-fund the charitable Leviathan, divert its resources to more productive uses and make the rich pay their fair share of taxes is the most important.

SOURCE

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Voter Fraud Far From ‘Myth,’ Panel Asserts

The Obama administration opposes states verifying citizenship status of registered voters. Inquiries into voter fraud are typically met with derision from both government and the media—and in at least one instance with prosecution. Prosecutors don’t prioritize voter fraud, while convictions only garner light sentences.

These are among the voter fraud problems facing the United States, experts noted this week, even as prominent voices on the left say such fraud is a myth.

The left’s opposition to voter integrity laws or even inquiry can be simply explained, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said.

“Why on earth would you not want to make sure that only citizens are registered and voting?” Fitton, author of “Clean House: Exposing Our Government’s Secrets and Lies,” said at a forum at The Heritage Foundation Tuesday. “That to me shows that the Obama administration and the left generally, which is behind this, wants to be able to steal elections if necessary. To me, that’s a crisis.”

“The percentages of non-citizens in the United States are approaching nearly 15 percent now,” said Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “So it’s a numbers game. A certain number of those citizens — a certain number of those residents, both legally were present and illegally present, are going to register to vote.”

A 2014 study by Old Dominion University found that 6.4 percent of all noncitizens voted in the 2008 election and 2.2 percent voted in the 2010 midterm elections. The study concludes this likely put Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat, over the top in the race in his 312-vote statewide victory over Republican Norm Coleman in 2008.

“The left generally, which is behind this, wants to be able to steal elections if necessary,” says @TomFitton.

In the past, opponents have argued that ID requirements hurt minority participation. Meanwhile, studies have found minority voting has increased after voter ID was implemented.

“If you think your vote is going to be stolen, especially in urban areas where you have political machines controlling the voting process or the perception that they control the voting process, you may not bother to vote,” Fitton said. “But, if you think your vote will be counted, of course you’re going to be more likely to turn out.”

Some recent cases cited by the panelists demonstrate the reality of voter fraud.

In August, in St. Louis, a court ordered a do-over in a Democratic primary for a Missouri state legislative seats after finding absentee voter fraud.

Last year in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a state legislator was convicted of voter fraud and given a suspended sentence.

Still, some commentators contend there is no voter fraud problem in the United States. For example, this week a New York Times editorial called voter fraud a “myth” and “fake”:

As study after study has shown, there is virtually no voter fraud anywhere in the country. The most comprehensive investigation to date found that out of one billion votes cast in all American elections between 2000 and 2014, there were 31 possible cases of impersonation fraud. Other violations—like absentee ballot fraud, multiple voting and registration fraud—are also exceedingly rare. So why do so many people continue to believe this falsehood?

Credit for this mass deception goes to Republican lawmakers, who have for years pushed a fake story about voter fraud, and thus the necessity of voter ID laws, in an effort to reduce voting among specific groups of Democratic-leaning voters.

However, it was in New York City where the city’s Department of Investigation (DOI) determined the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) was doing a poor job of preventing ineligible voters from voting. During the 2013 mayor’s race, 63 city investigators went to polling places impersonating someone who was either dead, moved outside the city, or was in jail. Of those, 61 were cleared to vote. The department’s report stated:

The 60 investigators, among other investigative activities, conducted quality assurance surveys of voters at poll sites throughout the five boroughs, logging complaints from 596 of 1,438 voters relating to subjects such as ballot readability, poll workers, and poll site locations. DOI’s operations also revealed that there are names of ineligible voters (e.g. felons and people no longer City residents), and deceased voters, on the BOE voter rolls, some for periods of up to four years.

Accordingly, DOI investigators posing as a number of those ineligible or deceased individuals, were permitted to obtain, mark, and submit ballots in the scanners or in the lever voting booths in 61 cases, with no challenge or question by BOE poll workers. Investigators were turned away in 2 other cases. No votes were cast for any actual candidate or on any proposal during the course of the DOI operation.

Interestingly, the result was not to demand more accountability from the city’s Board of Elections. Rather, the New York City Council voted to prosecute the investigators for impersonating voters, said John Fund, a National Review columnist, previously with The Wall Street Journal, during the panel.

Progressive critics reference the rarity of voter fraud prosecutions as evidence of a “myth.” Fund said it is actually because such cases can be politically disadvantageous to elected district attorneys.

“Most prosecutors run for election. Most prosecutors want to have higher election,” Fund said. “The last thing you want to do is take on voter fraud cases which are highly politicized and infuriate half the people in your community on partisan basis. Judges require incredible standards of proof and often the sentences of the few people who are convicted of voter fraud are community service.”

Maintaining clean voter rolls from ineligible voters is also important and required by law, said Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow with The Heritage Foundation. And New York isn’t the only place with a problem. In Indiana, 16 counties had more registered voters than voting-age adults based on U.S. Census Bureau data, he said.

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993, better known as the “Motor Voter Law” allows people to register to vote when they get their driver’s license law. But it also requires local governments to maintain clean voter rolls, which the federal government can enforce. The Obama administration has never enforced this provision, von Spakovsky said at the forum.

“There has been a war being waged against election integrity for the past decade,” von Spakovsky said. “The leader in this has been the U.S. Justice Department. Instead of making sure every voter can vote and that no one’s vote is stolen through fraud, they have been on the other side of that, waging war against any efforts to prove election integrity.”

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Without 'Lone Wolf' Lie, U.S. Could Have Stopped Nearly EVERY ATTACK

Some time ago, the invaluable Patrick Poole coined the term “known wolf,” sharply shredding the conventional Washington wisdom that “lone wolf” terrorism is a major domestic threat.

Pat has tracked the phenomenon for years, right up to the jihadist attacks this weekend in both the New York metropolitan area and St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Virtually every time a terror attack has occurred, the actor initially portrayed as a solo plotter lurking under the government’s radar turns out to be -- after not much digging – an already known (sometimes even, notorious) Islamic extremist.

As amply demonstrated by Poole’s reporting, catalogued here by PJ Media, "lone wolves" --virtually every single one -- end up having actually had extensive connections to other Islamic extremists, radical mosques, and (on not rare occasions) jihadist training facilities.

The overarching point I have been trying to make is fortified by Pat’s factual reporting. It is this: There are, and can be, no lone wolves.

The very concept is inane, and only stems from a willfully blind aversion to the ideological foundation of jihadist terror: Islamic supremacism.

The global, scripturally rooted movement to impose sharia -- in the West, to incrementally supersede our culture of reason, liberty, and equality with the repressive, discriminatory norms of classical Islamic law -- is a pack. The wolves are members of the pack, and that’s why they are the antithesis of “lone” actors. And, indeed, they always turn out to be “known” precisely because their association with the pack, with components of the global movement, is what ought to have alerted us to the danger they portended before they struck.

This is willful blindness, because of the restrictions we have gratuitously imposed on ourselves.

The U.S. government refuses to acknowledge the ideology that drives the movement until after some violent action is either too imminent to be ignored or, sadly more often, until after the Islamic supremacist has acted out the savagery his ideology commands.

The U.S. government consciously avoids the ideology because it is rooted in a fundamentalist, literalist interpretation of Islam. Though it is but one of many ways to construe that religion, the remorseless fact is that it is a mainstream construction, adhered to by tens of millions of Muslims and supported by centuries of scholarship.

I say “the U.S. government” is at fault here because, contrary to Republican campaign rhetoric that is apparently seized by amnesia, this is not merely an Obama administration dereliction -- however much the president and his former secretary of State (and would-be successor) Hillary Clinton have exacerbated the problem.

Since the World Trade Center was bombed in 1993, the bipartisan Beltway cognoscenti have “reasoned” (a euphemism for “reckless self-delusion”) that conceding the Islamic doctrinal roots of jihadist terror -- which would implicitly concede the vast Islamist (sharia-supremacist) support system without which the global jihadist onslaught would be impossible -- is impractical.

But how could acknowledging the truth be impractical?

Especially given that national security hinges on an accurate assessment of threats?

Bipartisan Washington “reasons” that telling the truth would portray the United States as “at war with Islam.” To be blunt, this conventional wisdom can only be described as sheer idiocy.

We know that tens of millions of Muslims worldwide, and what appears to be a preponderance (though perhaps a diminishing one) of Muslims in the West, reject Islamic supremacism and its sharia-encroachment agenda. We know that, by a large percentage, Muslims are the most common victims of jihadist terror. We know that Muslim reformers are courageously working to undermine and reinterpret the scriptural roots of Islamic supremacism -- a crucial battle our default from makes far more difficult for them to win. We know that Muslims, particularly those assimilated into the West, have been working with our law enforcement, military, and intelligence agencies for decades to gather intelligence, infiltrate jihadist cells, thwart jihadist attacks, and fight jihadist militias.

None of those Muslims -- who are not only our allies, but are in fact us -- believes that America is at war with Islam.

So why does Washington base crucial, life-and-death policy on nonsense?

Because it is in the thrall of the enemy. The “war on Islam” propaganda is manufactured by Islamist groups, particularly those tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

While we resist study of our enemies’ ideology, they go to school on us. They thus grasp three key things:

(1) Washington is so bloated and dysfunctional, it will leap on any excuse to refrain from strong action;

(2) the American tradition of religious liberty can be exploited to paralyze our government if national defense against a totalitarian political ideology can be framed as hostility and persecution against an entire religious faith; and

(3) because Washington has so much difficulty taking action, it welcomes claims (or, to be faddish, “narratives”) that minimize the scope and depth of the threat. Topping the “narrative” list is the fantasy that the Islamist ideological support system that nurtures jihadism (e.g., the Muslim Brotherhood and its tentacles) is better seen as a “moderate,” “non-violent” partner with whom we can work, than as what it actually is: the enemy’s most effective agent. The stealth operative that exploits the atmosphere of intimidation created by the jihadists.

In other words, in proceeding from the premise that we must do nothing to convey the notion that we are “at war with Islam” -- or, in Obama-Clinton parlance, in proceeding from the premise that we need a good “narrative” rather than a truth-based strategy -- we have internalized the enemy’s worldview, a view that is actually rejected by our actual Islamic allies and the vast majority of Americans.

The delusion comes into sharp relief if one listens to Hillary Clinton’s campaign bombast. Robert Spencer incisively quoted it earlier this week:

[W]e know that a lot of the rhetoric we’ve heard from Donald Trump has been seized on by terrorists, in particular ISIS, because they are looking to make this into a war against Islam, rather than a war against jihadists, violent terrorists, people who number maybe in the maybe tens of thousands, not the tens of millions, they want to use that to recruit more fighters to their cause, by turning it into a religious conflict. That’s why I’ve been very clear. We’re going after the bad guys and we’re going to get them, but we’re not going to go after an entire religion and give ISIS exactly what it’s wanting in order for them to enhance their position.
Sheer idiocy.

Our enemy is not the mere “tens of thousands” of jihadists. (She’s probably low-balling the number of jihadists worldwide, but let’s indulge her.) It is not merely ISIS, nor merely ISIS and al-Qaeda -- an organization Mrs. Clinton conveniently omits mentioning, since it has replenished, thanks to Obama-Clinton governance and despite Obama-Clinton claims to have defeated it, to the point that it is now at least as much a threat as it was on the eve of 9/11.

ISIS and al-Qaeda are not the sources of the threat against us. They are the inevitable results of that threat. The actual threat, the source, is Islamic supremacism and its sharia imposition agenda.

The support system, which the threat needs to thrive, does indeed include tens of millions of Islamists, some small percentage of whom will inexorably become violent jihadists, but the rest of whom will nurture the ideological aggression and push the radical sharia agenda -- in the media, on the campus, in the courts, and in the policy councils of government that they have so successfully influenced and infiltrated.

Obviously, to acknowledge that we are at war with this movement, at war with Islamic supremacism, is not remotely to be “at war with Islam.” After all, Islamic supremacism seeks conquest over all of Islam, too, and on a much more rapid schedule than its long-term pursuit of conquest over the West. Islamic supremacism is not a fringe movement; it is large and, at the moment, a juggernaut. But too much of Islam opposes Islamic supremacism to be confused with it.

Moreover, even if being at war with Islamic supremacists could be persuasively spun as being “at war with Islam” -- i.e., even if we were too incompetent to refute our enemies’ propaganda convincingly -- it would make no difference.

The war would still be being prosecuted against us. We have to fight it against the actual enemy, and we lose if we allow enemies to dupe us into thinking they are allies. We have to act on reality, even if Washington is too tongue-tied to find the right words for describing reality.

The enemy is in our heads and has shaped our perception of the conflict, to the enemy’s great advantage. That’s how you end up with inanities like “lone wolf.”

SOURCE

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Stealth Regulation: Regulation by Any Other Name Is Just as Sour

When the media and the public think about the term “regulation” they tend to think about official rules issued by agencies after going through the standard multi-year regulatory process. This process, governed by the Administrative Procedure Act, is designed to be transparent and public, allowing potentially affected parties to engage in the development of the rule though comments, hearings, and other less formal discussions. But this formal, open process is not the only way the administrative state regulates. There are huge classes of administrative actions which together create a category of stealth regulation; regulation from the shadows that is difficult to challenge, difficult to keep track of, and often difficult to know how to even comply with.

Stealth regulation goes by many names: guidance, executive order, executive memorandum, consent decree, compliance policy guide, manual, notice of permit approval, dear colleague letter. And that’s just to name a few. Each of these documents is issued unilaterally by an executive branch entity and includes instructions, sometimes couched merely as suggestions, on how citizens should comply with will of regulators. For many of types of stealth regulation, regulated entities are not technically legally required to follow the guidelines they contain. However, each “suggestion” is backed by an implicit threat: failure to follow can be met with severe regulatory harassment.

Rather than risk investigations, enforcement actions, litigation, or other regulatory oppression, most regulated entities fall into line. Thus we end up with a situation where regulators are regulating without officially issuing regulations. Kafka’s idea of regulation.

Stealth regulation, existing as it does outside the official regulatory process, is intentionally designed to hide from the general public. The “suggestions” or “guidance” are typically made available to the specific entities that are affected, but not made easily available beyond that. Because of this, there is no true accounting of all the off-books regulating that federal agencies are doing. And this is not accidental.

An attempt by the Competitive Enterprise Institute to compile such a list found a total of 517,812 “notices” had been published in the Federal Register since 1994, averaging 23-26 thousand a year. Each one had potentially regulatory effect, and these are just what were published. There are an unknown number of stealth regulations which are never published in the official record of the federal government.

Thankfully this activity from the administrative state is not going completely overlooked. Today the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee held another in a series of hearings examining the stealth regulation phenomenon. But this is an issue that must be heard and understood far more widely. Without understanding how the regulatory state is robbing us of our freedom, we cannot effectively fight back.

The lesson here is, as ever, that the administrative state cannot be trusted to act with restraint. Any ambiguity or leeway granted to the regulators will be seized upon to expand their powers, expansions that come at the expense of the rights and freedoms of American citizens. Tighter rules, greater transparency, and ultimately smaller federal government are the only true answer for recovering our liberty.

SOURCE

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Blocking Internet surrender helped unite Trump, Cruz and GOP

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statement in response to Ted Cruz’ endorsement of Donald Trump for President, where he cited as one reason, “Internet freedom. Clinton supports Obama’s plan to hand over control of the Internet to an international community of stakeholders, including Russia, China, and Iran. Just this week, Trump came out strongly against that plan, and in support of free speech online”:

“Donald Trump doing a statement on the Internet giveaway helped facilitate Ted Cruz’ endorsement of Trump just two days later, in turn helping to unite grassroots Republicans nationwide in the sprint to November. This makes it all the more important that House and Senate Republicans unite in their resolve to stop the Internet giveaway in the continuing resolution before the end of the month. It would be tragic that an issue which unites Republicans would be scrapped just to pass a bill that funds the Obama administration’s priorities, including surrendering U.S. oversight of the Internet’s domain name system to foreign powers and multinational corporations, creating an unaccountable global monopoly and risking censorship of every American’s vital Internet freedoms.”

SOURCE

There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- with posts on IQ, Muslims and Russia

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Monday, September 26, 2016


The pill and Massey Ferguson

The great moral questioning of the '60s is normally attributed to the contraceptive pill, which became generally available at that time. The pill did what conventional morality had long done: remove the risk of ex-nuptial births. So conventional morality lost its authority among the young. Whether any sexual restraint of any kind was warranted became questionable. So sexual promiscuity probably reached its peak at that time. I was there and was a cautious participant in the mood of the times.

And ALL morality, not only sexual morality, came into question at that time.  There was a collapse of values and standards across the board at that time.  If sexual restraint had become irrelevant, might not all forms of restraint be old-fashioned and irrelevant?  So practices that had evolved over millennia for the guidance of society lost their authority and there was nothing to replace them.  People were cast adrift from all guidance and had to figure out entirely from new how to live the good life.  Nobody knew any longer what was wise.

Fortunately, however, Christians in particular kept the old moral thinking alive and showed by results that it gave a better balanced life.  I was myself a fundamentalist Protestant throughout my teens (late '50's to early '60s) and that gave me a great set of rules to live by.  I did not have to invent my own rules. I had the wisdom of the ages on my side.

So I got though my teens with no trauma at all and much happiness.  I took no mind altering substances so was not damaged by them.  I did not drink alcohol so avoided all the risks associated with that.  I had friends who drank who died while drunk driving but I did not.  I was celibate so avoided some nasty diseases. I kept clear of crime.  So I arrived undamaged at adulthood and mental maturity.

And at around age 20 (1963) I became an atheist.  But my teen-aged experience of a very puritanical lifestyle gave me strong habits of restraint so I participated in the sexual revolution from that time on only as part of affectionate relationships. A lot of my old Christian values stay with me to this day and even in the '60s casual sex had no attractions for me.

So I saw it all in the '60s and was sober enough to remember what I saw.  Many of the people who glorify the life they had in the '60s can't actually remember much detail of what they did. They can't remember what they saw through a blur of drugs and alcohol.

So what I have given so far is a conventional explanation of the great break of the '60s.  But the pill is in fact only half the story.  It's not the whole explanation for that break.  The other half is the Massey Ferguson tractor!  How's that for a strange proposition?  To understand that proposition we have to go back to what was behind the conventional morality of the pre-1960 era.

Conventional morality was heavily influenced by a shortage of food.  In our present era of cheap and abundant food, we find it hard to comprehend that for most of human history, it was a struggle for most families to put enough bread on the table for their children.  Most people were poor and the money often did not stretch far enough to buy all the food that the family wanted.  They often had to make do with the cheapest possible food in order to eat at all.  Oaten porridge was a lifesaver.

So in those circumstances men wanted to be absolutely certain that the children they were feeding were their own. "Cuckoos" were regarded as robbing the man's natural children of what was rightfully theirs.  But the problem was how to tell who was the father of the various children.  Women mostly had a pretty good idea of it but the men did not.  And there is no doubt that both men and women sometimes "stray".  In a moment of passion a woman might easily sleep with someone other than her husband and produce a child from that union.

So there was only one way a man could ensure that his scarce resources were spent on his own children:  He had to convince his wife to sleep only with him.  And all the persuasive resources of society were brought to bear on that need.  Sexual restraint became the highest morality, with everything from ostracism to hellfire deployed to produce it.

And the pill did little to reduce that need.  Sex became less perilous but the man still needed to know which children were his.  So how come a highly functional morality broke down?  Why did not the pill simply drive promiscuity underground?

And that's where we come to Massey Ferguson.  The Massey Ferguson tractor was only one part of a broader phenonenon but it was a very visible one.  The Massey Ferguson was a small, cheap tractor  that was a remarkably tough machine.  I remember seeing lots of them in Australia and I gather that they were equally popular in Britain.  Massey Ferguson have made tractors of all shapes and sizes over the years but those small post-war models had a big impact.



With a Massey Ferguson farmers could pull bigger implements than a horse team could, could pull them for longer and could pull them more cheaply.  A horse team was not cheap to maintain.  You had farrier's bills, veterinary bills and feed bills.  And a  team of big working horses can go though a phenomenal amount of feed every day. For his Massey Ferguson the farmer just had to keep a drum of fuel handy.

So a farmer's productivity was at least doubled when he bought a Massey Ferguson. And what does a farmer's productivity add up to?  Food.  Along with other agricultural advances of the postwar era, the Massey Ferguson steadily drove down the price of food.  In the USA it was probably John Deere who provided most of the tractors but the result was the same.

So by the time the '60s hit, feeding your family was a difficulty only for the very unfortunate.  So it was no longer a tragedy if a man fed a child who was not his own.  His other children were not deprived thereby.  So the great need for the sexual control of women largely fell away.  Conventional morality had lost its main function.

So the Massey Ferguson is at least as important as the pill as an explanation of the '60s moral revolution -- JR

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Who's the Treasonous Candidate?

Lie often and long enough and one will begin to believe one’s own lies to be reality. Evidently, Hillary Clinton has been living in the reality of her own lies for quite a while now. On Tuesday, Clinton claimed that Donald Trump’s rhetoric against Islamic terrorism “is giving aid and comfort to our adversaries.” That’s right, Hillary just accused Trump of treason — for calling Islamic terrorism … Islamic terrorism. It is this kind of backward and dishonest thinking which underhandedly vilifies those who speak the truth while at the same time justifying the motives of those who commit these heinous acts of terror. The truth is Trump is not the one who should be accused of treasonous actions.

Actually, the fault lies with Clinton and her former boss, Barack Obama, who did “create the Islamic State,” which emerged as the direct consequence of the politically motivated and premature withdrawal from Iraq. That, in turn, created the most catastrophic humanitarian crisis in the history of the region.

As an additional consequence of the failure of Obama and Clinton to contain Islamic terror, the frequency of attacks targeting Americans on our soil will increase. Don’t buy into the errant “lone wolf” rhetoric. All of these attackers are unified by Islamist doctrine. But according to Hillary, even the suggestion of an Islamic connection to the actions of these terrorists is tantamount to treason. Clinton’s deceit has blinded her from reality, and, sadly, too many Americans have bought into this lie as well.

SOURCE

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Dozens Injured in 'Narrative Fight' With Islamic Terrorists

Everything is only a narrative to this administration

In Aeneid, the epic by the ancient Greek poet Virgil, the story is told of how the Greeks defeated the Trojans through the use of stratagem. As the story goes, the Greeks, after a decade-long siege of the city of Troy failed to secure a victory, deceived the Trojans by building a huge wooden horse, leaving it at the gates of the city as the Greek army sailed away. The Trojans, believing the Greeks had given up, brought the great horse within the city walls as a symbol of their victory. Unbeknownst to the Trojans, an elite force of Greek soldiers was hidden inside, which came out under cover of night, opened the gates for the Greek army (which had sailed back), and destroyed the city, ending the war decisively.

As the philosopher George Santayana noted, those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Barack Obama and his legions of progressive Democrats certainly seem determined to repeat history when it comes to allowing our enemies within our borders.

Following Islamist terror attacks this past weekend in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota, Obama once again buried his head in the proverbial sand, berating the media for reporting the incidents as acts of terrorism. He admonished the press to “try to refrain from getting out ahead of the investigation” because, he argued, “it does not help if false reports or incomplete information is out there.”

Except no one was getting out ahead of anything. The perpetrator was yet another radicalized Muslim — this one from Afghanistan who became a U.S. citizen. Ahmad Khan Rahami, suspected of the bombings that caused an explosion in New Jersey and another which injured 29 in New York, has traveled between the U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan multiple times in the last five years, and he was interviewed each time upon return though never suspected of being radicalized.

In a separate incident, nine people were injured by a knife-wielding man at a mall in Minnesota who, as he slashed his victims, reportedly made references to Allah.

These are just the latest of dozens of terrorist attacks (or, as Obama calls them, incidents of “workplace violence”) that have occurred under Obama’s watch, and yet he and his would-be successor Hillary Clinton are both calling for an increase in the flow of “refugees” from countries infested with Islamic radicals.

This despite Obama’s own FBI director admitting there is no way to properly vet Syrian refugees to weed out potential terrorists. Yet Obama plans to increase the number of refugees next year from 85,000 to 110,000, and Clinton has announced she will raise that quota even higher. This becomes of even greater concern when considering a recent report out of the U.S. Southern Command warning that, in 2015, of the 331,000 illegal aliens known to have crossed the U.S. border with Mexico, a staggering 30,000 of those come from “countries of terrorist concern.” If only 1% of those turn out to be terrorists, that is still 300 terrorists that we have allowed to come into our borders.

This is on top of a report from Homeland Security revealing that the U.S. “mistakenly” granted citizenship to at least 858 immigrants (and perhaps more than 1,800) from “special interest countries” that are struggling to deal with Islamic terrorism.

Speaking in response to the revelations, Donald Trump stated that the attacks “should be a wake-up call for every American” regarding the need to get tougher on immigration and secure our borders. He continued, “We need to get smart and get tough fast so that this weekend’s attacks do not become the new normal here as it has in Europe and other parts of the world. … The safety and security of the homeland must be the overriding objective of our leaders when it comes to our immigration policy.”

Shockingly, as if we are engaged in a mere policy debate with radical Islam rather than a shooting war where thousands of innocents are beheaded, burned, shot, stoned, raped and tortured, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, in response to the attacks, “When it comes to ISIL, we are in a fight — a narrative fight with them. A narrative battle.”

Everything is only a narrative to this administration.

That is weapons-grade stupidity that will get more Americans killed. Hillary Clinton must be getting the message though, because after insisting we import hundreds of thousands of unvetted “refugees” from radicalized Muslim countries, she has changed her tune, suddenly talking tough on vetting immigrants. It will be remembered, however, that in her four years as secretary of state, she showed no such interest in stronger vetting of potentially dangerous refugees.

America simply cannot survive this suicidal self-loathing in which we paint ourselves as a racist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic (one might say, “deplorable”) nation, and refuse to defend our borders, our citizens, our values, and our way of life. We cannot ignore the existential danger of the progressive, globalist agenda which seeks to undermine U.S. sovereignty and security while importing millions of immigrants, legal and illegal, who have no desire to become adopted members of their new home country, who have no desire to assimilate, and who in many cases openly seek to destroy the very things that made us the greatest engine of freedom and prosperity in the history of the world.

Of course, when it comes to America-hating, maybe they are just following Obama’s example. He never misses an opportunity to denigrate and browbeat the country he supposedly leads, as he just did on Tuesday in his final speech to the UN.

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Sunday, September 25, 2016



Racism and freedom of thought

I am a racist -- as the Left define that term.  I think that there are different races and that some (not all) of the differences between those races matter.  Aside from the fanatic Left, most people would concede that there are differences between people and that some of those differences can matter so why deny that groups of people can be different too?  I suppose an answer to that is possible but I have yet to hear one.

The reason the Left get such a charge out of the "racist" accusation is that it puts people in mind of the deeds of the unforgotten Uncle Adolf.  Adolf was for a time seen as a kindly uncle by most Germans.  So Leftists exploit that memory to imply that anybody who mentions race at all must be only a hairsbreadth away from being a genocidal maniac.  I suppose most people can see that such an inference is too sweeping but I want to show that it is very sweeping indeed.

And I intend to use myself to show how incorrect that inference is.  Although I am a racist, one of the people I most admire is David P.  To my mind he is worth more to humanity than a whole skyscraper full of bureaucrats.  David runs a small cafe where I often have brunch.  He takes orders, he makes coffees, he delivers orders to the tables, he clears away dirty dishes and wipes down tables.  And he has got a ready smile for everyone all the time.

And all those things are needed. They are things that people voluntarily seek out and pay money for.  And the benefit of them is totally clear and uncontrovertible -- unlike the dubious "services" provided by bureaucrats in skyscrapers.  I certainly enjoy my excellent brunches from David but when has any bureaucrat given me pleasure?  If a skyscraper full of bureaucrats vanished overnight, few people would notice.  But if David did not come in one morning, there would be a lot of people milling around and feeling very deprived.

David is Vietnamese.  He grew up in Australia but his parents  were "boat people": People who fled Communism in small boats to get to a safer place.  So what sort of racist am I when I admire immensely a brownish man of unambiguously Asian appearance?  I will tell you what sort I am.  I think the Vietnamese are a fine race who pull their weight more than most.  I am racially pro-Vietnamese.  Not all of them are as good as David but Vietnamese have been in Australia for a long time now and I have been observing them for a long time.  And a lot of them are as good as David P.

I could go on with other examples of people I admire.  I could mention Pavan, who is Indian and also the most good humoured man I know.  I could mention Les, who is one of the manliest men I know but who, like a lot of Kiwis, has both English and Maori ancestors.  And so on.  And more broadly, I could mention how much I admire the Japanese and Chinese for their unusual intelligence.  I am in fact a Sinophile of sorts.  I admire the Han.

So, you see, it is possible to be a racist without thinking ill of people, let alone wishing to harm them.

But I don't think highly of all people I meet and I don't think highly of all human groups that I encounter.  It could hardly be clearer that people of Sub-Saharan African ancestry are in general dangerous people to have around and I understand well the "white flight" to the suburbs whereby mainstream Americans seek to avoid them.  Their problem is not their skin color but their aggressive behavior.

And it is that aggressive behaviour that should in my view be focused on, not their racial origin.  As I have long argued, I think it is crazy to catch malefactors and then let them go.  Once someone has been found guilty of some foul deed, it seems crazy to let them go so that they can re-offend.  So how to improve that situation?  We once did deal with it well. Up until the early 19th century, murderers and other grave offenders in England were hanged at Tyburn and similar places.  There was a zero rate of re-offending for them.

There are so many people who commit crimes these days that we can hardly hang them all.  Even in the early 19th century, the British didn't hang everybody.  Petty criminals were, for instance, banished to Australia.  I am descended from two such petty criminals.

It seems to me, however, that recidivists (repeat offenders) are a special case.  It is often said that anybody can make a mistake and that people should be given an opportunity to learn from their mistakes. So a first-offender should be punished but after that let go in the hope that he will not re-offend.  But what if he does reoffend?  I think that shows him as a seriously deficient person who is unlikely to change in response to mercy and forgiveness.

That doesn't mean that we have to hang him but it does mean that he has to be kept permanently out of circulation in the law-abiding community.  Low-cost permanent detention would be one possibility.  Only about 2% of the population commit crimes and only about half of them re-offend so the numbers to be accommodated might not be impossibly costly -- particularly if bare-bones accommodation only were provided.

And a traditional method could be used too:  Exile. Exile goes back to ancient Greek and Roman times and probably earlier.  As a descendant of exiled people, I think it could almost be called humane.  There is no doubt that some poor countries could be paid a small sum to take in exiled Western criminals.  Africa might be particularly receptive.  Afro-Americans would not seem too different from the local population and criminals of Caucasian origin would usually seem positively law-abiding compared to the African locals.

And then there are the Jihadis.  There is no doubt that they are a problem group at the moment. To deal with them I think we have to deny Muslims not only freedom of speech but even freedom of thought.  That is an extraordinary thing to propose but the only other way I can see of protecting ourselves from the insane minority of Muslims is to repatriate all Muslims to their ancestral lands.

So what do I mean by freedom of thought?  I mean that any evidence of Jihadi sympathies among Muslims has to be made illegal so that the person concerned can be caught before he carries out Jihadi deeds. He is then exiled to his ancestral country.

The cooperation of the Muslim population at large would be needed for that to be done effectively but if it is put strongly to them that their permission to stay in Western countries is at stake, I have no doubt that co-operation would be forthcoming.  Very quietly, a lot of co-operation at preventing terrorist acts is already given. There have even been instances of Muslim parents incriminating their radicalized children.

But what about the First Amendment, Americans will say?  I hate to state the obvious here but the First Amendment protects speech only, not thought!  I think a court could find the two to be separable.

So I don't want to harm anyone on the basis of their race but I do believe that we need to use firmer measures to protect ourselves from crime.  And noting the differences between different groups of people can aid that.  The characteristic crimes of each group may benefit from solutions "tailor-made" for that group:  Jihadis need thought monitoring, Africans need Africa.

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More corroboration of what a nasty piece of work Hillary is in private



Note that Facebook Suspended the Military K9 Handler’s  Account After He Wrote the above

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Cruz Endorses Trump for President

Sen. Ted Cruz has endorsed Republican nominee Donald Trump for President four months after dropping out of the race for president, returning to his work in the U.S. Senate, and beginning to campaign for re-election in 2018. A statement from Cruz read:


"This election is unlike any other in our nation’s history. Like many other voters, I have struggled to determine the right course of action in this general election.

In Cleveland, I urged voters, “please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket whom you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

I’ve made this decision for two reasons. First, last year, I promised to support the Republican nominee. And I intend to keep my word.

Second, even though I have had areas of significant disagreement with our nominee, by any measure Hillary Clinton is wholly unacceptable — that’s why I have always been #NeverHillary.

Six key policy differences inform my decision. First, and most important, the Supreme Court. For anyone concerned about the Bill of Rights — free speech, religious liberty, the Second Amendment — the Court hangs in the balance. I have spent my professional career fighting before the Court to defend the Constitution. We are only one justice away from losing our most basic rights, and the next president will appoint as many as four new justices. We know, without a doubt, that every Clinton appointee would be a left-wing ideologue. Trump, in contrast, has promised to appoint justices “in the mold of Scalia.”

For some time, I have been seeking greater specificity on this issue, and today the Trump campaign provided that, releasing a very strong list of potential Supreme Court nominees — including Sen. Mike Lee, who would make an extraordinary justice — and making an explicit commitment to nominate only from that list. This commitment matters, and it provides a serious reason for voters to choose to support Trump.

Second, Obamacare. The failed healthcare law is hurting millions of Americans. If Republicans hold Congress, leadership has committed to passing legislation repealing Obamacare. Clinton, we know beyond a shadow of doubt, would veto that legislation. Trump has said he would sign it.

Third, energy. Clinton would continue the Obama administration’s war on coal and relentless efforts to crush the oil and gas industry. Trump has said he will reduce regulations and allow the blossoming American energy renaissance to create millions of new high-paying jobs.

Fourth, immigration. Clinton would continue and even expand President Obama’s lawless executive amnesty. Trump has promised that he would revoke those illegal executive orders.

Fifth, national security. Clinton would continue the Obama administration’s willful blindness to radical Islamic terrorism. She would continue importing Middle Eastern refugees whom the FBI cannot vet to make sure they are not terrorists. Trump has promised to stop the deluge of unvetted refugees.

Sixth, Internet freedom. Clinton supports Obama’s plan to hand over control of the Internet to an international community of stakeholders, including Russia, China, and Iran. Just this week, Trump came out strongly against that plan, and in support of free speech online.

These are six vital issues where the candidates’ positions present a clear choice for the American people.

If Clinton wins, we know — with 100% certainty — that she would deliver on her left-wing promises, with devastating results for our country.

My conscience tells me I must do whatever I can to stop that.

We also have seen, over the past few weeks and months, a Trump campaign focusing more and more on freedom — including emphasizing school choice and the power of economic growth to lift African-Americans and Hispanics to prosperity.

Finally, after eight years of a lawless Obama administration, targeting and persecuting those disfavored by the administration, fidelity to the rule of law has never been more important.

The Supreme Court will be critical in preserving the rule of law. And, if the next administration fails to honor the Constitution and Bill of Rights, then I hope that Republicans and Democrats will stand united in protecting our fundamental liberties.

Our country is in crisis. Hillary Clinton is manifestly unfit to be president, and her policies would harm millions of Americans. And Donald Trump is the only thing standing in her way.

A year ago, I pledged to endorse the Republican nominee, and I am honoring that commitment. And if you don’t want to see a Hillary Clinton presidency, I encourage you to vote for him"


During the first Republican presidential primary debate, all the candidates on the stage were asked if they would support whichever candidate won the Republican nomination. Only Trump expressed at the time that he could not yet make that commitment. Cruz was on that stage. Eventually, each candidate present at the first debate made the pledge to back the Republican nominee. Cruz re-affirmed that pledge in March as the race tightened.

Trump invited Cruz to speak at the Republican National Convention in July, where Trump was officially named and accepted the Republican nomination for president of the United States. Rumors flew around the convention speculating on whether Cruz would seize the public opportunity to endorse Trump. But while Cruz congratulated Trump on winning the nomination and made several indictments of Democratic nominee-to-be Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, he stopped short of endorsing Trump, instructing those listening rather to “vote your conscience.”

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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Friday, September 23, 2016



Trump is Hitler? Why HILLARY is More Like The F├╝hrer...



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The Experiment:  Capitalism versus Socialism

What if we could have an experiment to compare the two systems? Wait – we already did

David R. Legates

Experimentation is a major tool in the scientist’s arsenal. We can put the same strain of bacteria into two Petri dishes, for example, and compare the relative effects of two different antibiotics.

What if we could do the same with economic systems? We could take a country and destroy its political and economic fabric through, say, a natural disaster or widespread pestilence – or a war. War is the ultimate political and economic cleansing agent. Its full devastation can send a country back almost to the beginning of civilization.

We could then take this war-torn country and divide it into two parts. It would have similar people, similar climate, similar potential trading partners, similar geography – but one part is rebuilt using capitalism as its base, while the other rebuilds using socialism and its principles. We’d let the virtues of each system play out and see where these two new countries would be after, say, fifty years.

Don’t you wonder what the outcome might be? Well, as it turns out, we have already performed The Experiment. It’s post-war Germany.                                                                                                                                                          

Following the devastation of World War II, Germany was split into two parts. The German Federal Republic, or West Germany, was rebuilt in the image of the western allies and a capitalist legal-political-economic system.  By contrast, the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, was reconstructed using the socialist/communist principles championed by the Soviet Union. The Experiment pitted the market economy of the West against the command economy of the East.

On the western side, considering what’s being taught in our schools, one might expect that “greedy capitalism” would create a state where a few people became the rich elite, while the vast majority were left as deprived masses. Socialism, by contrast, promised East Germany the best that life had to offer, through rights guaranteed by the state, including “human rights” to employment and living wages, time for rest and leisure, health care and elder care, and guaranteed housing, education and cultural programs.

So the Petri dishes were set, and The Experiment began. In 1990, after just 45 years, The Experiment abruptly and surprisingly ended – with reunification back into a single country. How did it work out?

In West Germany, capitalism rebuilt the devastated country into a political and economic power in Europe, rivaled only by its former enemy, Great Britain. Instead of creating a rich 1% and a poor 99%, West Germans thrived: average West Germans were considerably wealthier than their Eastern counterparts. The country developed economically, and its people enjoyed lives with all the pleasures that wealth, modern technologies and quality free time could provide.

By contrast, East Germany’s socialist policies created a state that fell woefully behind. Its people were much poorer; property ownership was virtually non-existent amid a collectivist regime; food and material goods were scarce and expensive, available mostly to Communist Party elites; spies were everywhere, and people were summarily arrested and jailed; the state pretended to pay its workers, and they pretended to work. A wall of concrete, barbed wire and guard towers was built to separate the two halves of Berlin – and keep disgruntled Eastern citizens from defecting to the West. Many who tried to leave were shot.

By the time of reunification, productivity in East Germany was barely 70% of that in West Germany. The West boasted large, vibrant industries and other highly productive sectors, while dirty antiquated factories and outmoded farming methods dominated the East. Even staples like butter, eggs and chicken – abundant and affordable in West Germany – were twice as expensive in the eastern “workers’ paradise.”

Coffee was seven times more expensive, while gasoline and laundry detergent were more than 2½ times more expensive. Luxury items, like automobiles and men’s suits were twice as expensive, color televisions five times more costly. About the only staple that was cheaper in East Germany were potatoes, which could be distilled into vodka, so that lower caste East Germans could commiserate better with their abundant Russian comrades.

Moreover, state-guaranteed health care in the East did not translate into a healthier society. In 1990, life expectancy in the West was about 3½ years longer than in the East for men, and more than 2½ years longer for women. Studies found that unfavorable working conditions, psychological reactions to political suppression, differences in cardiovascular risk factors and lifestyles, and lower standards of medical technology in East Germany were largely responsible for their lower health standards.

The socialist mentality of full employment for everyone led to more women working in the East than in the West. This pressure resulted in better childcare facilities in East Germany, as mothers there returned to work sooner after giving birth and were more inclined to work full-time – or more compelled to work, to put food on the table, which meant they had to work full-time and run the household. This also meant East German children had far less contact with their parents and families, even as West Germans became convinced that children fared better under their mothers’ loving care than growing up in nurseries.

As the education system in East Germany was deeply rooted in socialism, the state ran an extensive network of schools that indoctrinated children into the socialist system from just after their birth to the university level. While it’s true that today East Germans perform better at STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) studies than their Western counterparts, that may be explained in part by the influx of numerous poorly educated immigrants to former West German areas, and the extensive money invested in the eastern region since reunification.

However, schools of the East were not intended to establish creative thinking, which results in creativity and innovation. Rather, they were authoritarian and rigid, encouraging collective group-think and consensus ideas, rather than fostering outside-the-box thinking, novel philosophies and enhanced productivity. Thus, East German technology was slow to develop and students were often overqualified for available jobs.

Did the East gain any advantage? Nudism was more prevalent in the East, if that was your thing.  Personal interaction was higher too, because telephones and other technologies were lacking. But even though East Germany was much better off than other Soviet satellite countries (a tribute to innate German resourcefulness), East German socialism offered few advantages over its capitalist western counterpart.  In fact, in the years since reunification, homogenization of Germany has been slow, due largely to the legacy of years lived under socialist domination, where any work ethic was unrewarded, even repressed.

Freedom was the single most important ingredient that caused West Germany to succeed. Freedom is the elixir that fuels innovation, supports a diversity of thought, and allows people to become who they want to be, not what the state demands they must be. When the government guarantees equality of outcomes, it also stifles the creativity, diversity, ingenuity and reward systems that allow people and countries to grow, develop and prosper. The Experiment has proven this.

These days in the United States, however, forgetful, unobservant and ideological politicians are again touting the supposed benefits of socialism. Government-provided health and elder care, free tuition, paid day care and pre-school education, guaranteed jobs and wages are all peddled by candidates who feel government can and should care for us from cradle to grave. They apparently think East German socialism is preferable to West German capitalism. Have they learned nothing from The Experiment?

A friend of mine believes capitalism is greedy and evil – and socialism, if “properly implemented,” will take us forward to realizing a better future. I counter that The Experiment proves society is doomed to mediocrity at best under autocratic socialism. Indeed, those who turn toward the Siren call of socialism always crash upon its rocks. But my friend assures me: “Trust me, this time it will be different.”

That’s what they always say. Perhaps Venezuela and Cuba are finally making socialism work?

Via email

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A Battle of Narratives?

On Sunday, while the search for bombing suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami was unfolding, CNN had Barack Obama spokesman Josh Earnest in the studio for an interview. Earnest made a point to stress that the U.S. battle against Islamic terror was a “battle of narratives.” He said, “What I am telling you is that we are, when it comes to ISIL, we are in a fight — a narrative fight with them, a narrative battle, and what ISIL wants to do is they want to project that they are an organization that is representing Islam in a fight and a war against the West and a war against the United States.”

However, it appears that the real battle over narratives is not primarily between the U.S. and ISIL but between leftists and conservatives. Consider how CNN reported on Donald Trump’s remarks after the bombings. A CNN headline read: “Trump Says ‘Racial Profiling’ Will Stop Terror.” The problem is that Trump never said “racial” in his comments on the need for better vetting of immigrants. CNN simply injected the word into its coverage. Clearly, CNN wants to promote a false image of Trump being a racist.

Then there was MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. He tweeted: “We’re also very very lucky that the attackers tried to use explosives rather than guns.” Hayes, seeking to make some anti-gun point, comes across as completely out of touch with regards to the actual issue at hand. This kind of unabashed exploitation of a horrific event in order to further some unconnected social agenda has become increasingly common for the Leftmedia. On a side note, to counter Hayes' foolish comment, it was a citizen armed with a handgun who stopped the knife-wielding attacker in Minnesota.

Back to Earnest’s comments on a “battle of narratives,” the Democrat leadership and specifically Hillary Clinton, who was the secretary of state at the time of ISIL’s rise, and current Secretary of State John Kerry are responsible for framing this as a battle of narratives rather than what it truly is — a war against American values. To deny the radical Islamic ideological motivation for these terrorist attacks and boil them down to merely a “battle of narratives” is to deny reality.

SOURCE

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No Thank You, Obama

Last week, while touting the new Census report on income and poverty in America, Barack Obama took credit for $2 a gallon gasoline, and immodestly shouted to his crowd of supporters: “Thank you, Obama.”

I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but given that for eight years your administration has done everything to decapitate the oil and gas industry that gave us low gas prices, sorry: No thanks are in order, Mr. President.

Even more amazing was Obama’s victory lap on the income numbers. Yes, incomes for middle-class families rose by an impressive 5 percent in 2015. And poverty fell. Thank goodness. It’s about time.

But the Census report was anything but cause for celebration. It is a stinging indictment of the policy results of both the George W. Bush and the Obama legacies. They both miserably failed and are equally culpable for the sad state of the American family’s finances today.

Census found that American incomes are lower today (adjusted for inflation) than they were in 2007. What kind of recovery is this, when we still haven’t made up the lost ground from a recession that happened seven years ago? Thank you, Obama.

Even more worrisome is the Census revelation that Americans are poorer today than they were in 2000. In other words, for 15 years, average families have made no progress at all in terms of their personal financial situations. That’s a decade and a half of no growth. That’s sad. The Bush administration has to be held accountable for this malaise, since most of it happened on Bush’s watch. This is a good point to make to the pro-Bush “never-Trumpers,” who keep sanctimoniously denouncing Trump’s policies as reckless. They should look in the mirror.

Other decade-long trends brought to light by the Census report were equally gloomy. We still have more than 43 million Americans in poverty today. About 1 in 7 of our citizens is poor. The absolute number of poor people is so large it is now the equivalent of every resident of California being in poverty. Obama’s record on fighting poverty has been a complete failure. The number of families that are poor grew by 3.2 million since the self-proclaimed savior entered office. Thank you, Obama.

If the poverty rate stood today where it was 15 years ago, we would have 7 million fewer Americans under the poverty threshold.

Why is poverty higher? Two reasons. One is that economic growth has been abysmally low over the last decade. And second: a smaller share of adults are actually working. Getting a job and a paycheck is usually a good way to move out of poverty, but we now have a near-record number of adults who are unemployed. Thank you, Obama.

These numbers are not just worrisome; they are scandalous. They point to a decade of failed policies enacted by our clueless political leaders. As the great Reagan economist Arthur Laffer has put it so aptly, we keep punishing success through taxes and rewarding failure through welfare, and then we wonder why we are getting nothing but failure.

One other depressing statistic is the lack of economic progress for black Americans under Obama. You won’t likely hear this from Black Lives Matter or the NAACP, but blacks have lost ground economically since Obama entered office. Their incomes have fallen by 2 percent. That’s especially disappointing because blacks already have much lower incomes than whites and Asians, so they are falling further behind relatively. Thank you, Obama.

The left’s flimsy explanation for all this slow growth is that this is the best America can do in the 21st century. But Donald Trump put it very well in his economic speech last Thursday at the New York Economic Club when he admonished the liberal policies that have put us in this current state. “This isn’t the best America can do; this is the best they can do,” he explained.

He’s right. Tax cuts, regulatory relief, energy production, school choice and repealing Obamacare will fix these problems and create, as John F. Kennedy put it half a century ago, a rising tide that lifts all boats.

SOURCE

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For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)

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